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Posts Tagged ‘John Piper’

I love how guest post ideas often fall into my lap! Thanks to my daughter who is still willing to come home and tell me about what she learned at school (well, except for math).

There is not much I am going to say to introduce you to this (video) guest post about the selfless love between two people.

I do dare you to try to watch it without wondering …

what would I do, if I were in her shoes?

If you want to Pray For Ian, just click on the link to that blog. But … pray for Larissa too!

“Marriage is not mainly about prospering economically; it is mainly about displaying the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church. Knowing Christ is more important than making a living. Treasuring Christ is more important than bearing children. Being united to Christ by faith is a greater source of marital success than perfect sex and double-income prosperity.

If we make secondary things primary, they cease to be secondary and become idolatrous. They have their place. But they are not first, and they are not guaranteed. . . . So it is with marriage. It is a momentary gift. It may last a lifetime, or it may be snatched away on the honeymoon. Either way, it is short. It may have many bright days, or it may be covered with clouds. If we make secondary things primary, we will be embittered at the sorrows we must face. But if we set our face to make of marriage mainly what God designed it to be, no sorrows and no calamities can stand in our way. Every one of them will be, not an obstacle to success, but a way to succeed. The beauty of the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church shines brightest when nothing but Christ can sustain it.”
John Piper (This Momentary Marriage)

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I remember vividly being dropped off at Sunday School as a child, and being very nervous, because I knew that the teacher would want to hear my memory verse. I was never so good at memorizing.

imagesAs an adult, I am still not so good at memorizing.

Oh, I have students memorize, I encourage others to memorize, and I still sometimes try to memorize … I am just not very good at it.

The memorizing of scripture is a good, helpful and wise thing to be actively, regularly doing.

Presently I am working on a portion of Psalm 139 … I aim to have memorized it by a speaking date in May (imagine a clammy-palmed, dry throat, finger-nail chewing middle aged lady cowering in a chair … that would me be imagining that I can actually do this!

But, I am going to try … because it really is good for me!

John Piper is a brilliant author, speaker, pastor (I also realized when watching this video that he does a great impression of a bobble head doll). Check out his eight sentences on the value of memorizing scripture.

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I have one passion, that, I hope with all my being, I communicate with those around me.

That passion is that there is nothing
… NOTHING …
that anyone can DO that is
so bad,
so evil,
so sinful,
that is unforgivable,
by the God that I love.
And more importantly,
the God who created and loves all people.

I know, in my human frailty, that I fail to communicate this on a regular and daily basis. I hold onto resentments, I struggle to forgive, I bring up things from the past, I walk with one foot (regularly) in my mouth, I think thoughts that are vile. I am a walking, talking example of failure, of weakness … of sinfulness.

But, because I am fully human, I am the perfect material for a God who understands what it is to be fully human. I am the perfect material for a God who can heal and forgive. I am the perfect material for a God who rebirths, who recreates, who reconstructs, who redeems … saves … from myself.

It is so easy to look at our life and our choices through the shadows that our sin creates. It is so easy to look at our life and only see our mistakes, our failures and our sins. It is so easy to look at our life and think that
there is no way that the God of creation,
that the God who sent his own son to die,
would ever take us into his arms
after what we have done,
what we have thought,
what we have said,
who we are.
That is the work of Prince of Darkness … to discourage, to cause despair, to kick us to the curb of life.

Romans eight (Romans 8) is the most enlightening, the most encouraging, the most truth you can find about what God really thinks of us. At the end of the chapter, is the grandest of hope, offered to us”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else (NOTHING) in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (vs. 37-39)

Let me give it to you, in the Carole version:

“It doesn’t matter what sin you committed. I love you, even if you have done wrong with your hands, with your ears, with your mouth, with your eyes, with your mind … to yourself, and even to others. I love you. And all you have to do is accept the fact that Jesus paid for it all. And he did so knowing that, even after you accept my love, you will still continue to do wrong. I love you that much. And NOTHING can separate you from me, once you accept my love for you.”

My version may not be a perfect translation, but, believe this:

NOTHING can separate us from the love of God, made possible through Jesus, our Savior, our Redeemer, our Lord.

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I have this picture in my mind of Jesus on a cross, near to the point of succumbing to death. He is beaten and bruised. He is bloodied, with fresh, as well as hours old dried blood. He is alive and yet so near to death.

In my mental picture, I am standing behind him, as he breaths some of his last, pain-filled breaths. I am dirty with the shame, the guilt, the sin that is part and parcel of being fully human. I am marred, scarred and unattractive. None of the dirt and the shame and the guilt and the sin is visible to anyone … except for me. It is internal. I look to others normal, clean and attractive, but, in my heart … that is where the reality of my condition is visible.

Then Jesus turns his face to look at me behind him. I know that He can see the real me … one who is so unworthy so close to one who is so perfect. He looks at me, and a tear falls from his bruised eye. He can see the sin in my life, and the embarrassment I feel causes a lump to form in my throat. I bow my head in shame, and tears fall from my internally bruised eyes.

I sob, more for myself than for the man suffering on the cross. I now feel the guilt of turning my face away from him, in HIS final hour. “How selfish,” I say to myself.

I force my head to lift, I force my eyes to look up to him.

He sees my guilt-filled eyes, he sees my sins … ALL OF THEM. I muster all that is within me to not look away.

Then, he does something that changes my life … forever.

He moves his head, how I do not know, for it was taking such efforts for him to even breath. He positions his head so that he is now looking at me through the cross, not around it. It is as though the wooden cross has become translucent, so that he is looking at me through the cross.

What he sees, as he looks at me through the cross is very different from what I know I am. He sees me as clean, He sees me as spotless, He sees me as beautiful.

Through the cross, Jesus sees me as the perfect creation that I was always intended to be. But, it is only through His seeing me through His cross that I am made new.

“So, Jesus sees you, and he’s like, my son, my daughter, perfect, spotless, blameless.”

“That’s the whole point of the cross, is that you’re gonna fail, and you’re gonna stumble, and you’re gonna feel dirty and you’re gonna feel awkward the whole point of the cross of Christ is there be this mighty picture of His love and pursuit of you, so the cross is necessary, because of you but it’s also the picture we have of just how far God is willing to go because He loves you.”

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